Barack Obama, far from making things better, will lead workers and students into expanded war, continue racist oppression and continue to reward the thieving capitalists with bailouts just as George Bush did.
In fact, Obama may well get away with murder for the benefit of U.S. rulers all the more easily because of his huge popular support. The millions who turned out for him in Washington suggest many working-class Obama backers were acting against their own class interests.
Obama’s first speech, in effect, actually called for both bankers’ bailouts and workers’ wage-cuts (work fewer hours to save others’ jobs). He never once asked corporations to take less profits to “save jobs.”
The Sham of ‘Closing’ Guantanamo
As head of the U.S. war machine, Obama immediately abandoned two campaign promises: vowing to close the Guantánamo torture mill and to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq. On Guantánamo, the liberal, imperialist Brookings Institution (website, 1/24/09) assured U.S. capitalists that this move is, on one level, a crowd-pleasing ruse designed to “warm the hearts of human rights activists.” Brookings fellow Benjamin Wittes wrote:
“Obama’s executive order…does a lot less than many people seem to imagine….It does not require any detainee’s release or transfer. It does not require any detainee’s prosecution. It does not preclude the eventual use of military commissions or some other alternative trial venue.
And, critically, it does not preclude the continued non-criminal detention of certain — perhaps many — current Guantánamo detainees….Guantánamo, in short, will close, but Guantánamo detentions may well continue.”
As for torture, Brookings says Obama’s first act in office enables a new Inquisition. “It…contain[s] an important nod to the possibility that the CIA may have legitimate needs for techniques the military does not authorize….The CIA will regain some measure of interrogation flexibility as a result of this.”
On Iraq “withdrawal,” the Obama regime has no intention of abandoning U.S. rulers’ deadly struggle for oil-rich Iraq. According to a January 21 White House press release, “Under the Obama-Biden plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel.” The Los Angeles Times reported (1/21) that this will involve, “A…force of tens of thousands.”
Obama hopes to secure the six-million-barrel-per-day Iraqi oil production U.S. rulers envisioned on the eve of their 2003 invasion. But before Exxon Mobil and Chevron eventually take decisive possession of Iraq’s oil fields, Obama will have to deploy even more forces in the region to fend off threats from Iran and China that have only grown since 2003.
DEADLIER WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
Other events indicate that Obama, who vows to intensify U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and beyond, will prove an even deadlier war criminal than Bush. The Times of London reported (1/23), “Missiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president and a clear sign that the controversial military policy begun by George W. Bush has not changed….Three children lost their lives.”
Obama’s pursuit of the Afghan war is no better than Israel’s bosses’ Gaza genocide. “The U.S. military said on Saturday that troops, backed by air support, had killed 15 militants in an overnight operation. But Assadullah Wafa, a Karzai [the Afghan president] adviser investigating the deaths, said on Sunday that ‘16 civilians, many of them children and women, were killed’ in the operation” (Reuters, 1/25). “Hundreds of angry villagers demonstrated…in Mehtarlam…after [the] American raid.” (NY Times, 1/26)
“American commandos broke down doors and unleashed dogs without warning on January 7…in Masamut…in eastern Afghanistan….typical of many [raids] conducted” in the country. “One of the first to be killed was…a member of the Afghan Border police who was home on leave….His brother…said he was killed as soon as he looked out his front door.” (NYT)
When villagers were carrying a wounded man “on a rope bed down a slope…to get help….a helicopter fired a rocket at them, killing the wounded man and two of the bearers.” (NYT)
All this is typical of the racist attacks that the U.S. military metes out to defenseless civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere to maintain its imperialist profit empire.
The Times indicated that tremendous opposition is developing to this kind of mass murder. And now Obama wants to make Afghanistan into a full-scale war, but according to Andrew Bacevich, international relations professor at Boston U., “It could be that sending 30,000 more troops is throwing money and lives down the rat hole.” (NYT, 1/15)
There is only one viable alternative to Obama’s pro- capitalist, pro-war, anti-worker mass frenzy. It lies in building for a communist revolution that will someday bury the war-makers’ capitalist system, which tortures and kills for profit.